text and photos by Lance A. Morgan
I recently overheard this comment at a recent car show I had my 70 Mustang entered in. The comment was made in earnest and I totally understand, given what I know about what I own. You see, the Mustang I own is a 1970 Mustang Grabber. Now over the years, I have owned a number of Mustangs, all of which I loved and am proud to have called mine for a time. Some of these include a 1968 GT500 Shelby, 1966 GT350H, 65 GT A code fastback, 70 351 C 4V coupe, an 84 Mustang SVO, as well as a pristine yellow 1970 Boss 302 I bought from the original owner in '79. They are all history now, owned by others and hopefully enjoyed. Even the Boss 302 that I owned for over 20 years. Yeah sold it too. Insanity can strike the best of us. After four years of no Mustangs in the family, I was having way too many senior moments. I needed another Mustang to get me back to normal. As we all know, the prices of them are just going up so I figured I needed to find one before they are all out of my reach. I decided on another 1970, since they were more or less where most of my expertise was the best and they are my favorites. In High School, friends owned Shelbys, Bosses, and Mach 1s when they were new. My first ride in a Mustang was in 1969 in a 66 Shelby GT 350 when I was a High School sophomore. So I set out to find a 70 yellow fastback and intended to clone my old Boss 302.

I found a 70 yellow fastback right in the city where I live. It had been in the paper for about a week. She had a three year old paint job on her. She was a 302 2V automatic with folddown seat, new seat upholstery, and woodgrain dash. At some point, the hood had a scoop installed and the black stripe treatment like a 70 Mach 1 was painted onto it. The left taillight didn't work and the brakes, which are drum, were horrible. She was all yellow with a rear spoiler and interior needs that I knew how to repair. The kid that sold it had mentioned in his ad that it was a yellow grabber mustang. I just figured that he meant the color, which some people call Grabber Yellow. "Nope," he said, "it's a Grabber. I have some pictures of it somewhere years ago when Dad and I were at a picnic. I'll see if I can find them." I said okay and a friend and I got a trailer and brought her home.

She needed a complete engine detail. The overspray from when she was painted was everywhere under the hood and all over the original engine. I spent a whole weekend detailing the engine and then the compartment. I got a new shifter bezel, and various other little nicknacks to replace worn items. It had a 69 steering wheel and I found a correct 70 wheel with the deluxe pad. It was coming along. Then I got a call from the kid who told me he had found some of the old pictures of the car. I drove to his house and we sat down at the kitchen table. Sure enough, there were some pictures of the car taken about 10 years ago, yellow with a black C stripe and those dog dish hubcaps and trim rings. Now through all of the years, I personally have seen only 3 Grabbers so I had to really rethink the Boss clone idea. My wife said, "Well you've done it again, haven't you? Found ANOTHER collector Mustang." Sigh. What can I say, dear? Grin.

You see, just as 1970 began, sometime around February, and after the 70 models had been introduced, Ford released a special model called the Mustang Grabber, to promote the lineup of "grabber" colors Ford had that year. This was in conjuction with the more well known Maverick Grabbers. According to the factory press release in early 1970, the Mustang Grabber was available with Grabber Green, Grabber Blue, Grabber Orange, Vermillion, and Bright Yellow. Some Grabbers were also known to be Red, as shown in some promo literature.
I know of two for sure that exist. All Mustang Grabbers were Mustang Sportsroofs, or fastbacks, with an option on the invoice called "Grabber Special Value Package." The Grabbers had a distinct stripe kit that was very similar to the 1969 Boss 302 "C" stripe but without the letters. The Grabbers came with either 302 or 351 windsor 2V engines, dual color-keyed sport mirrors, black rear taillight panels, and 14 inch center caps and trim rings that were similar to the standard wheels on the Boss 302. These cars also came with either black or white interiors.

Many Grabbers have been lost in history due to repaints during a time when the stripe kits were not available as they are today to completely restore the car to original condition. Such was the case with my Grabber. There may be many Grabbers out there that simply look like a plain Mustang fastback. Only the invoice can tell for sure. Kevin Marti, of Marti Auto Works, has documented in his book, "Mustang by the Numbers", that there were 5,120 Grabber Mustangs sold in 1970. Considering the years that have passed and the many ends that these and other Mustangs have unfortunately experienced, it gives one pause to consider how many of these great looking examples of the Mustang's Golden age are still around. I got in touch with Kevin Marti and told him about my car. I sent him a copy of my title and he was able to send me a duplicate original invoice of the car showing the "Grabber Special Value Package" as one of the options that the car was ordered with. Kevin was one of the nicest guys you could ever want to meet. He was completely willing to tell me all he could about my car. The invoice of a Grabber is the ONLY way known to date to be able to verify if a car was a Grabber. There isn't any known code on the door sticker or body buck tag that denotes a Grabber.

Now today, you can get the Mustang Grabber C stripe kit from several vendors online. They are very easy, although time consuming, to apply. I located a set of 14" steel rims and the dog dish hubcaps and trim rings and have put my car back to the Grabber appearance, with a few modifications. I painted the taillight bezels black like a 70 Boss and have kept the hood as it is for now. I added rear louvers, front spoiler, 1" sway bar, chrome valve covers and air cleaner lid, export brace, cadmium fender bolts, new exhaust system, and 15" Magnum 500's. The original wheels and hub caps are ready for use for the complete original look, if I desire. Originally, my car was pretty much optionless. The folddown seat, woodgrain dash, and rear spoiler were added in years past. As far as I know, any option available for a Mustang was available for a Grabber. I love the comments from people who ask things like, "is that a Boss?", "is that a Mach?", and, of course, "aw he made that up." It is interesting to talk to people at shows who say that after seeing my car now remember seeing a Grabber in the past but had forgotten about it. Many didn't know what they were but liked the look. I am told that many referred to them as the "poor man's Boss 302" describing the desire of the Boss look without the sticker price.

I'm grateful to have found this lost treasure for sure. She will not be cloned into something she isn't. The Mustang Grabber is a one of a kind Mustang that is unique and special unto itself and is deserving of attention and status. I am the webmaster of the Mustang Grabber Registry,
http://1970mgr.org. This Registry is dedicated to the Mustang Grabbers that were, are, and hopefully will survive. All Mustang Grabbers are welcome regardless of their condition, including wrecked, destroyed, or parted out vehicles. All owner information is kept strictly confidential within the Registry. No information about an owner will be given out without the express permission of that owner. To contact the Mustang Grabber Registry, just email me at webmaster@1970mgr.org . I would love to hear from you. Maybe there is someone out there with a Grabber or who knows where one might be. Let's get them all together and help each other keep them alive and well.

"Aw, he made that up!!" No I didn't, honest

 
This article is the property of the Mustang Grabber Registry. Any unauthorized reprint or publishing is forbidden except by express permission by the Mustang Grabber Registry and an authorized representative.
This article was updated 6/10/07 by the author.